Fresh ways to make over furniture

With more time indoors on your hands thanks to cooler weather, you finally resolve to refinish that forgotten wooden chair that’s been tucked away in the garage all summer.

Whether you’re only giving the chair a fresh coat of paint or refinishing it from scratch, be sure to protect yourself and those around you in the process. Keep these tips in mind before beginning a new refinishing project.

  1. Read the label. Follow all safety and usage instructions on the label, including how to dispose of any leftover products.
  2. Work in an area with lots of ventilation. Refinish old furniture outdoors, if weather permits. If you work inside, open the windows to make sure there is plenty of ventilation.
  3. Do not use sanders, heat guns or blowlamps. This can create dust and fumes that may contain lead.
  4. Use a chemical paint stripper. Ideally, choose one with a paste that can be applied with a brush. Paint strippers contain substances that may be harmful, so use them carefully.
  5. Keep children and pregnant women away from the work area. This will help ensure their safety.
  6. Always wear safety glasses, gloves, and a good-quality breathing mask. The label will provide more detailed information on personal safety equipment you should use. This is essential to protect you and your family.
  7. Store materials properly. Make sure that you store refinishing chemicals in a dry, cool place. Keep any hazardous material away from children’s reach.
  8. Dispose of refinishing waste materials properly. It can be dangerous to throw away rags and certain other materials that have been used for refinishing furniture. Aside from potentially starting a fire, they can also cause serious damage to the environment.

Preparing your home’s exterior for the fall

Spruce up your home’s curb appeal with a fresh coat of paint. Not only does a paint touch-up maximize the first impression, it protects your investment from the elements. Follow these five easy steps to increase durability and create maximum wow factor.

  1. First, make sure to inspect the exterior of your home and identify any problem areas. Look for things like peeling paint, cracked caulking and water damage. Pay particular attention to your roof’s peaks, since sun exposure makes them more susceptible to wear and tear. Correct any issues before painting to avoid a spotty finish.
  2. Make sure to prepare the painting surface(s) to ensure a professional-looking finish. Sand, scrape and pressure-clean the areas you wish to paint to ensure uniformity.
  3. Pick colours that pop. Everyone admires an entrance that draws the eye, and there’s no better way to create big impact with just a little effort than with paint. A bold colour for your front door gives your home personality and creates a lasting impression. For a clean, vibrant look, I’ve picked Para Paints’ Jadestone 116F (pictured).
  4. Ensure that you have the proper tools and products for the job. Get yourself an angular tip brush, paint scraper, rags and a durable, top-quality paint. Be sure to choose a paint that can be applied and cures well in cold weather. A reliable choice is Para Paints’ new ultra-low temp velvet or semi-gloss paints. These products can be applied at 2°C, lengthening the fall painting season. They’re weather resistant, dry quickly and come in a wide range of colours.
  5. Now comes the easy part— the painting. For best results, apply a primer before starting, followed by an even application of paint. You can complete your refresh in one coat without issues, but consider two coats if the old paint is very dry or if the surface is very porous.

After applying the finishing touches, let the paint dry for a day or two and you’ll have a home that’s beautiful, inviting and resilient.

Scott McGillivray is the host of the hit HGTV series Income Property and Moving the McGillivrays, a real estate investor, contractor, author and educator.

Staying safe during home renovations

The first back-to-school sale catches you by surprise. Where did the summer go?  With the return of shorter days and cooler temperatures, perhaps there are some neglected renovation projects that you can finally tackle.

Even if it’s only painting the kitchen, here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe:

  • Is there asbestos in your house? If you are planning renovations and your home has building materials already installed that you think may contain asbestos — like insulation, exterior siding, floor or ceiling tiles — contact a trained and qualified asbestos abatement professional. They can test for and remove asbestos before you begin the renovations. Never try to remove building materials that may contain asbestos yourself. If left undisturbed, there are no significant health risks from asbestos.
  • Understand what you’re using. Whether it’s paint, caulking or even window cleaner, use chemical products as directed. Follow all safety and usage instructions on the label, including how to dispose of anything left over.
  • Be sure to pick up gloves, a mask and a pair of safety glasses. The label of the product will provide more detailed information on personal safety equipment you should use. This is essential to protect you and your family.
  • Keep all chemicals away from children. Keep all household chemical products safely stored where kids cannot see or reach them.
  • Make sure there is plenty of ventilation during painting or varnishing projects, or when installing wall-to-wall carpets using glues or adhesives.

Tips to remember when revitalizing old furniture

Whether you’re stripping a chair you found in a garage sale, staining a vintage dresser or painting dated kitchen cabinets, be sure to protect yourself and those around you in the process. Here is what to do:

  1. Read the label. Follow all safety and usage instructions on the label, including how to dispose of any leftover products.
  2. Work in an area with lots of ventilation. Refinish old furniture outdoors, if weather permits. If you work inside, open the windows to make sure there is plenty of ventilation.
  3. Do not use sanders, heat guns or blowlamps. This can create dust and fumes that may contain lead.
  4. Use a chemical paint stripper. Ideally, choose one with a paste that can be applied with a brush. Paint strippers also contain substances that may be harmful, so use them carefully.
  5. Keep children and pregnant women away from the work area. This will help ensure their safety.
  6. Always wear safety glasses, gloves, and a good-quality breathing mask. The label of the product will provide more detailed information on personal safety equipment you should use. These are essential to protect you and your family.
  7. Store materials properly. Make sure that you store refinishing chemicals in a dry, cool place. Keep any hazardous material away from children’s reach.
  8. Dispose of refinishing waste materials properly. It can be very dangerous to throw away rags and certain other materials that have been used for refinishing furniture. Aside from potentially starting a fire, they can also cause serious damage to the environment.

Renovating? Some DIY projects to avoid

Renovating? Some DIY projects to avoidUnless you have technical qualifications and a lot of experience, there are some projects and types of work that you are better off leaving to the pros. These are the ones that involve safety risks for you and your family, and it is better to let a professional to do the work.

Plumbing, electrical and gas repairs and installations. Depending on provincial regulations, a licensed contractor may be necessary by law. Make sure you know the rules where you live. For the sake of your family’s safety, work involving electricity and/or gas service should only be done by a qualified and licensed contractor. Because this type of work can result in a safety hazard if done incorrectly, permits are usually required.

Roofing or other exterior work involving heights. These projects require proper safety equipment that must be correctly used. If you don’t have such equipment and know how to use it properly, don’t take chances — hire a pro.

Asbestos removal. You should always use a professional for this tricky project, and provincial laws likely require it. Don’t risk your health by doing this work on your own.

The Canadian Home Builder’s Association offers free information on how to hire a contractor the smart and safe way. Find more information at www.getitinwriting.ca.

 

Great tips for hiring a renovation contractor

Great tips for hiring a renovation contractorIf your home needs a refresh, consider opting for the services of a licensed and qualified contractor for projects that are beyond your DIY skills. Use these tips to select the right one:

Find a contractor you can trust and are comfortable with. Check out the renovator thoroughly. Ask lots of questions when you meet, talk with previous customers, and visit past or current projects. Don’t underestimate the importance of a comfortable personal fit so that you feel they are easy to talk with and are responsive.

Find out what services the contractor offers. Many professional renovation contractors also provide design and planning services that add value to the process. A true pro will point out opportunities for improving your design and any alternative that can save you money or improve the overall quality of your project.

Make sure you have a detailed written contract. A professional contractor will always provide a complete written contract that spells out everything, including their warranty. Never settle for anything less than this. Working with a contractor who does business the right way means not having to lie awake at night worrying what the final costs will be, or if the job will even get finished. A cash deal with no contract is no deal at all.

Know what to expect. Ask a lot of questions before any work begins. Who will be at your home for each portion of the work? How will your day-to-day living be impacted? Should you consider moving out during any portion of the construction process? What if want to make changes? The more you know upfront about the whole process, the less anxious you’ll feel.

Take an active role throughout the project. The best renovation results come from good communication between you and your renovation contractor. Ask for regular updates and know how to get hold of the contractor if you have questions or concerns. Be prepared to spend time going over drawings, monitoring the project’s progress and fully discussing decisions.

Don’t expect a problem-free renovation. The bigger the project, the more likely you’ll run into the unexpected, such as existing deficiencies hidden in the walls, delays in special orders or bad weather. Be flexible and understand that some things are beyond the contractor’s control.

The Canadian Home Builder’s Association offers free information on how to hire a contractor the smart and safe way. Find more information at www.getitinwriting.ca.

 

Tips to choose the right tape for DIY projects

Tips to choose the right tape for DIY projectsThere’s an old saying, “if you can’t fix it with duct tape, you’re just not using enough.” Only what if the amount isn’t the issue, but rather the type? That’s right, not all tapes are created equal! So, how do you choose what’s right for your project? Here’s a few tips:

There are some jobs that simply need a quick fix or short-term hold. For these temporary applications, a Basic or Original duct tape can serve your purpose and save you some cash.

However, there are many projects that require extra strength and durability. For these, be sure to choose a higher-grade product, such as Duck Max Strength duct tape that will offer strong adhesion to a variety of surfaces for long-lasting repairs.

If you need strength, long-term performance, durability in extreme weather or adhesion to rough or dirty surfaces, you need a high-end product. For these situations—or if you simply want a top-of-the-line product for all of your projects—stock up on rolls of T-Rex Tape. It’s formulated with super-durable, extra-thick, UV-resistant materials to work longer and hold stronger than other utility tapes, in all kinds of weather and temperatures. (T-RexTape.com)

Finally, once you’ve determined the appropriate grade for your needs, tapes are also available in colours beyond traditional grey, such as black or white to blend in with surfaces. So, stock your workbench and junk drawer to ensure you’re ready for any project or situation.

Five DIY renovation tips

Five DIY renovation tipsAs the days grow longer and the sun begins to warm the soul, many of us might be thinking it’s time to get our home ready for the warmer weather. It’s a perfect time to embark on that painting or renovation project you’ve been dreaming about.

  1. Let the clean, fresh air in. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation during painting or varnishing projects, or when installing any flooring using glues or adhesives. You can find out about your local outdoor air quality by visiting www.airhealth.ca.
  2. Understand what you’re using. Whether it’s paint, caulking or even window cleaner, use chemical products as directed. Follow all safety and usage instructions on the label, including how to dispose of any leftover products. Be sure you use all personal safety equipment recommended on the label.
  3. Choose low-emission products when possible. Paint or varnish products often have a noticeable smell. The odour will contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some chemical products that are labelled as “low emission” give off fewer VOCs. Look on the label to see if the product is low emission.
  4. Check for asbestos. If you are planning renovations and your home has building materials already installed that you think may contain asbestos (like insulation, exterior siding, floor or ceiling tiles), contact a trained and qualified asbestos abatement professional. They can test for and remove asbestos before you begin. Never try to remove building materials that may contain asbestos yourself.
  5. Keep chemicals away from children. Keep all household chemical products safely stored where children cannot see or reach them.

By following these renovation health tips, you can brush away the last signs of winter safely.

Genius small bathroom makeover ideas

Genius small bathroom makeover ideasLooking for your next reno project? Consider transforming your bathroom — the most renovated room in 2017 — with a few strategic upgrades so you can enjoy a relaxing oasis and boost your property’s resale value. Whether you’re looking to refresh your ensuite or a powder room, use these tricks to make the most of every square foot.

Savvy storage solutions. Maximize limited space by incorporating streamlined and efficient organizing and storage options. Think floating glass shelves to hold toiletries, built-in shelves and shower niches to house mood-setting décor and towels, and pullout drawers and desk trays to keep jewelry and makeup tidy.

Mix DIY with smart shopping. To keep your budget under control, combine simple do-it-yourself projects with new quality purchases. For example, update a builder-basic vanity with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware, and splurge on a clawfoot tub or heated floors. You can also go with more expensive tile and flooring in a small bathroom because you’ll need less material than you would in a larger space.

Opt for stylish resourceful fixtures. When upgrading your plumbing fixtures, choose efficient models that will make your life easier in the end. Make cleaning easier with the VorMax Plus self-cleaning toilet from American Standard. Available at Home Depot, this innovative toilet cleans and freshens with its Lysol Fresh Infuser every time you flush. Its smart design reduces the clutter of having multiple cleaning supplies and its antimicrobial surface eliminates buildup and dirt that cling onto conventional bowls.

Bring on the bold. Don’t be afraid to add fashion and flair — small bathrooms can benefit from character and charm that create visual interest and please the eye. Pick one or two features to play up. For a contemporary cottage look, try an oversized mirror framed in distressed wood. For a serious spa vibe, choose a luxurious showerhead, large tiles and plush accessories.

www.newscanada.com

Top 5 ways to turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreat

Top 5 ways to turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreatToday’s busy lifestyles leave many of us craving a quick recharge. And there’s no place like home to relax and unwind, so why not create a spa-like sanctuary where you can do just that? Here are some top tips on how to make it amazing.

Start with what’s behind the walls. There’s nothing less relaxing than dealing with a mould problem –– a common issue in bathrooms. The wrong type of insulation can be especially vulnerable, so look for one that contractors trust just for this purpose. I recommend an insulation called Rockwool Safe ‘n’ Sound. It’s made from stone, so it repels water and won’t promote mould, mildew or rot. It’ll also help create a peaceful retreat, thanks to excellent sound absorption.

It’s all about the water feature. Whether it’s a multi-head rain shower set against a backdrop of luxurious stone tile or a large, free-standing tub, nothing melts tension away and relaxes the muscles like water. Options abound and can be pricey, but remember, the water feature is the centrepiece of the space, and you’ll use it every single day for years.

Create a warm space. A cold floor can abruptly end your calming experience. Radiant in-floor heating is one feature that, once you have it, you’ll never know how you lived without it.

Let nature inspire. Recreate a spa aesthetic with natural materials like teak, bamboo or stone.

Lighting and music. Incorporating waterproof wireless controls for music and lighting let you set the mood and tone for the ultimate unwind. If you’re on a budget, add a pop of elegance with a beautiful light fixture on a dimmer and complement with aromatic candles.

Accessorize. From plush towels and robes to fresh flowers or greenery, add some elements that make your bathroom feel like a five-star hotel. Reduce visual clutter by storing toiletries or other items in decorative baskets or jars.

My advice is to relax, unwind, and tune out the world for a little while. Make it a guilt-free indulgence, because after all, we take better care of others when we take care of ourselves, too.

Scott McGillivray is the host of the hit HGTV series Income Property and Moving the McGillivrays, a full-time real estate investor, contractor, author, and educator.

www.newscanada.com